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The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald
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The Outback Stars (2007)

by Sandra McDonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Outback Stars (book 1)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Not sure why, but this just didn't grab me. Maybe it's all the military jargon, and too many characters too fast - I was so confused. I *think* it's probably a fun adventure for the right reader.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
What I find interesting about Ms. McDonald's story is that so much of it is centered around the structure of the lower ranks of a very large crewed ship with a pseudo military organization. I have read and enjoyed such books before and with a reliance perhaps too much on acronyms and a sleuthing tale that might be a bit predictable, it is a tale that works.

I give Ms. McDonald high marks and take off some points for the deep Aboriginal subplot that emerges when tied to how this universes travel works seems too pat on one hand, for whatever Aliens to have developed and then too thin on another. (If you have something for starship travel, would a second means be needed for interplanetary travel another way?)

Further, presuming that in a far future the Australian Aboriginal tie is the great means by which all of mankind also emigrates to the stars seems very convenient as well. (Just so happens that that nifty star travel is something that Aboriginals can take advantage of and since Earth suffered a lot, Aboriginals are more abundant in a space program that Australia has a dominant hand in since the US, Russia, China, Brazil, India, didn't emerge as top dog...

But aside from that, the story weaves about and provides some interesting fun. An interstellar map, as well as a ships map could very well have made the story work a great deal better. Translating what the author has written without is a little difficult, but as Ms McDonald can write so swiftly about where everything is, it is easy for the characters to remain knowledgeable of where they are even as I was getting lost.

I look forward to more in this as I like the universe, the fleet concept, that has been presented. Though there are some issues I think that one may have issue with. The romance that comes out as necessary to the plot could have used more development than the mystery. Crossing barriers of rank, which eventually is discussed by a great many minor characters seems to be written about much more than the issue of why the heroine would wish to cross that divide. The reasons for the love story to exist seem small in comparison to all the discussion of why it shouldn't, or how the mystery is handled.

Where such may hold a stronger allure for others, the genre I think places a greater emphasis on the scene and setting in this case, rather than the veneer of a love story that Ms McDonald has given us. In this first book, if that gets the matter out of the way, hopefully in the rest of the trilogy we can see more of the Universe and how our heroes deal with the adventure that they started on in this first book. ( )
  DWWilkin | Oct 26, 2014 |
TBR
  Ebeth.Naylor | Sep 30, 2013 |
I may be being too harsh on this book. It is a competent enough retelling of military SF tropes, although that perhaps tries to do a bit too much at once, because by the end things felt quite tangled. Of course, by the end I was increasingly irritated.

I was originally annoyed by the problematic handling of the rape accusation. Then I noticed the appropriation of aboriginal culture: unlike the bizarrely phrased description of a minor character as coming “from authentic Aboriginal ancestry", it felt vague and uninformed and somehow wrong. So I checked online to confirm my suspicion that the author had no Aboriginal ancestry herself – and found not only that, but she appears to have no association even with Australia. Knowing this, the whole book felt more and more of a cheat. And then the appropriation just kept getting worse and worse.

To top it off, we then get the theme that if someone abuses you then says he's sorry you should totally trust him and be friends again. This not only with Myell, but also with Dyatt. (Or perhaps I misunderstood that subplot. Perhaps it was just amplification of the “just because a woman seems to be raped/abused doesn't mean you shouldn't keep trusting her boyfriend unconditionally" theme.)

So, story wise, it was engaging enough, but if you want any ethics in your characters you will find this highly frustrating. ( )
  zeborah | Jun 5, 2013 |
The romance was predictable and contrived. The aboriginal deus ex machina was an interesting twist, but the outcomes fit a familiar pattern. I was much more interested in the operations of the ship stores and the alien transportation system than in the romance and intrigue. Something tells me McDondald felt the same while writing them. Still, it was rather pleasant brain candy. ( )
  eclecticlibrarian | Dec 28, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sandra McDonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765355558, Mass Market Paperback)

Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is a hero.  She has the medals and the scars to prove it.
 
She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from injuries sustained during the fiery loss of her last ship, the Yangtze, and she's bored -- so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out.  That's a mistake.  The Aral Sea isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour.
 
Jodenny 's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals.  She's a squared-away officer.  She thinks she can handle it all.  She's wrong.   Aral Sea isn't a happy ship.  And it's about to get a lot unhappier.
 
As Aral Sea enters the Alcheringa -- the alien-constructed space warp that allows giant settler-ships to travel between worlds, away from all help or hope -- Jodenny comes face to face with something powerful enough to dwarf even the unknown force that destroyed her last ship and left her with missing memories and bloody nightmares.  Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is about to be introduced to love.
 
Author Sandra McDonald brings her personal knowledge of the military, and of the subtle interplay between men and women on deployment, to a stirring tale that mixes ancient Australian folklore with the colonization of the stars.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is a hero. She has the medals and the scars to prove it." "She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from injuries sustained during the fiery loss of her last ship, the Yangtze, and she's bored - so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out. That's a mistake. The Aral Sea isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour." "Jodenny's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals. She's a squared-away officer. She thinks she can handle it all. She's wrong. Aral Sea isn't a happy ship. And it's about to get a lot unhappier." "As Aral Sea enters the Alcheringa - the alien-constructed space warp that allows giant settler-ships to travel between worlds, away from all help or hope - Jodenny comes face-to-face with something powerful enough to dwarf even the unknown force that destroyed her last ship and left her with missing memories and bloody nightmares. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is about to be introduced to love."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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